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Train travel and Where to go in Provence

We are taking our first (non work) trip to France and after devoting 10 days to Paris and Versailles, and 6 days on a Barge in Burgundy, I will have 2 weeks to see Provence/French Riviera in mid/late September. Driving is not an option (sight issues). Barge will leave us in Dijon and I was thinking of:
—train to Avingon for 3-4 nights. Day trips to Le Beau Provence ( i understand Uber would work for this—true?) Would hire a private guide to see to Nimes, Pont du Gard and ask to be dropped off in AIX
—Aix (2 nights)
—Train to Marseille and local train to Antibes for 4-5 nights. Prefer a more laid back place than Marsaille. Plan to take train to different villages along the coast each morning using the local train and returning to Antibe each afternoon. Suggestions of towns? Menton? Monaco? Cannes? I would also take an Uber to Vence for a day visit.

Does this sound doable? Is there anything else I can add that is close by and accessible by train/Uber or even a private guide. Appreciate this Forum—I have been ghosting you for months!

Posted by
7082 posts

Avignon is indeed the best base without a car. I would make it 4 nights rather than 3.

Uber won't work for Les Baux: I would use a guided tour for that...or perhaps I would opt for a day tour of the Luberon instead (Gordes, Roussillon), which I find prettier and less touristy than Les Baux (which feels devoid of actual inhabitants).
Conversely, Nîmes and Pont du Gard are feasible by public transport: there are buses between Avignon and Pont du Gard and Pont du Gard and Nîmes, as well as trains between Nîmes and Avignon.

Avignon to Aix is easy by bus, no worries there, and Antibes is a good base for the Riviera.

Posted by
301 posts

I went to Provence for the first time two summers ago and absolutely fell in love with Arles. It's very accessible using local trains and is a very short train hop from Avignon, in particular.

Caroline

Posted by
9436 posts

My favorite town in all of France is St Rémy-de-Provence, near Avignon.
Avignon is good for transportation but i’m not a fan of the city itself.

Posted by
27435 posts

Because St-Remy doesn't have a train station, I think it's not a very convenient base for Provence. It can be seen on a day trip (by bus) from either Avignon or Arles.

There is public-bus service from Nice to Vence. I believe the bus company is Lignes d'Azur. The bus may be #09, but I can't find the schedule online; I know it's out there. The bus makes a stop in St-Paul-de-Vence n the way to Vence.

Posted by
209 posts

I just spent the month of November in Paris and had a lovely time.

Please be aware Para Olympic Games continue into Sept so probably more crowds than usual and outrageous fees for the Metro may extend to Sept 8.

I will be leaving for Provence for the month of March on Feb 26 spending a week in Aix, another in Arles and then 2weeks in Avignon. I am taking numerous day trips out of each city to surrounding cities on their market days and especially on Sun and Mon when most things in A, A, A are closed.

I am S, F, 70+ and travel solo by public transport and rent apts for all my travels. I did find the bus schedule today actually from Avignon to Pont du Gard and am going to St. Remy on market day as well as Les Baux. But decided a couple of weeks ago to do all 3 on a Getyourguide tour. I didn't want to fuss with the bus to Pont du Gard, it was recommended to visit St. Remy for the full impact of this delightful town outside of the market day and getting to Les Baux was going to be challenging. I very rarely take tours so this is big for me but I feel worthwhile.

A fodorite offered up books on Provence about 1 1/2 years ago, no takers and when she offered again I grabbed them. Voila--a planned a trip. She sent about 20 fabulous books of all kinds on Provence. As I don't live in the US but will travel there to get my flight to Marseille, I can mail you some books and maps if you like when I go there to depart.

The books might give you a better idea for your plans.

Posted by
57 posts

You can catch a direct TGV train from Aix-en-Provence TGV station to Antibes. The itinerary will be posted 90 days before your departure on the SCNF website, Note the Aix TGV station is not in Aix so be prepared to catch a taxi of shuttle bus first.

Posted by
9436 posts

acraven, i wasn’t recommending St Rémy as a base, but if it were me, i would. It’s that special and wonderful.

Posted by
119 posts

Jumping in to say , once I stayed in Aix
Solo& without a car … the tourist office had a lot of
Day trips to coast and luberon available as well as walking tours in the city

Posted by
284 posts

Sounds like you have a lovely trip planned.

We were just in Avignon. Personally, I wouldn't bother. There are much better places to stay than Avignon.

Menton, Monaco, are quite a distance from Antibes. We just drove the coast today from Nice to St. Tropez. Is there a particular reason for Antibes? The train doesn't go to St. Tropez.

For Provence, we enjoyed Lourmarin (there's a michelin star restaurant and resort here), Rousillon is really cute and very small town. We stayed in Bonnieux, which is very traditional and quaint (central yet not very tourist ready). Look at Goult, Lauris, and St. Remy.

To help you more, it would be great to have a bit more info. BTW, I did like Aix. Lots of students and great streets to wander around. I also here Nimes is nice.

Posted by
16 posts

I don’t know about Uber for Les Baux, but you can definitely take a taxi. I was in Arles last September, and we called a taxi to take us to Les Baux from the tourist office, and then arranged for the driver to pick us up in the afternoon. I think we paid around 65 euro round trip, for 3 passengers.